Friday, February 03, 2012
Murder Must Advertise: a book review
I’ve just re-read Murder Must Advertise, one of the Lord Peter Wimsey novels by Dorothy L. Sayers. One of the better ones, what’s more (though not quite as good as Gaudy Night, which paints such a wonderful picture of Oxford).
This book has Lord Peter Wimsey going undercover, in a plot drawing heavily on Sayers’ experience working in an advertising agency (she apparently coined the phrase “It pays to advertise”). Her description of the advertising industry, though almost 80 years old, still has a modern ring:
“Tell England. Tell the world. Eat more Oats. Take Care of your Complexion. No More War. Shine your Shoes with Shino. Ask your Grocer. Children Love Laxamalt. Prepare to meet thy God. Bung’s Beer is Better. Try Dogsbody’s Sausages... Advertise, or go under.”
As with other Wimsey novels, Murder Must Advertise is a great read, and an interesting exploration of the concept of “justice.” What is worse, for example – a murderer, a blackmailer, a drug dealer, an adulterer, or someone who deceives the public? This (or perhaps Strong Poison) is also a good place to begin reading Sayers’ detective novels.
For other reviews, see In Which I Read Vintage Novels or Novel Readings.